Shame stigmatizes people afflicted with mental illnesses

Shame stigmatizes people afflicted with mental illnesses
Updated 11 October 2015

Shame stigmatizes people afflicted with mental illnesses

Shame stigmatizes people afflicted with mental illnesses

JEDDAH: Psychiatrists have urged putting in place standards to protect the rights of the mentally ill and raise awareness in order to eliminate the stigma of shame targeting patients and those wishing to seek treatment.
They raised the “dignity in mental health” slogan, the theme of World Mental Health Day 2015, stressing that families should offer their kin suffering mental illness the special care they need
Psychiatrists warned families against consulting unqualified psychologists and instead go to specialized psychiatric hospitals to make sure that patients receive care that meets psychiatric and medical care of a high standard.
Experts and psychologists working in the mental health sector have urged families and patients to continuously update their knowledge with the newest information that will help protect the dignity of patients.
Dr. Nawaf Al-Harthi, director of Jeddah Psychiatric Hospital, expressed the need to raise awareness of the patient’s rights to dignity: “As experts in psychiatry, we are working to raise awareness of the people surrounding the patient, which is to consider the best service and care we can provide them.”
Assistant Professor of Psychology at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Dr. Arwa Hosni, said that people can sometimes overcome obstacles and difficulties facing them, yet it could be hard for others to overcome their problems alone so they seek professional help.
“Arab society used not to believe in psychiatry and its importance, but now we see more awareness and great progress in this field,” Dr. Hosni said. However, she warned against those who use this profession as a business with a lack of proper qualifications, stressing the need to raise awareness in this regard, “People need to ensure that the specialist is qualified in this area, and knows the patient’s rights,” she said adding that professional psychological treatment centers and specialists in community awareness need to work to decrease the stigma facing some patients.
Family consultant Nawal Othman Al-Zahrani said that large segments of society are still unaware of the concept of psychiatric health as they try to neglect the mental and psychological illness and usually label people with the stigma of shame.
She stressed that the psychiatric health is a form of balance between the soul, mind and body that achieves harmony and makes people productive. “With the rising social and economic challenges, there’s a higher need for creating awareness of the importance of psychiatric health,” she added.